|Grand Master of the Order of Saint John|
2 May 1680 – 21 July 1690
|Monarch||King Charles III|
|Preceded by||Nicolas Cotoner|
|Succeeded by||Adrien de Wignacourt|
|Born||17 March 1615
Kingdom of Naples (modern Italy)
|Died||21 July 1690
|Allegiance||Order of Saint John|
|Battles/wars||Battle of the Dardanelles|
Carafa was born on 17 March 1615 in the Kingdom of Naples to Girolamo, Prince of Rocella and Diana Vittori, the niece of Pope Paul V. Sources conflict as to his place of birth as some say that he was born in Castelvetere (modern Caulonia) in Calabria, or in the city of Naples itself. His brother was the Cardinal Carlo Carafa della Spina.
He was enlisted with the Order of Saint John when he was aged only three months, in June 1615. He studied in Naples, and various dignitaries and knights of the Order contributed to his education. In 1635 he went to Catalonia with his uncle Francesco Carafa, the Prior general of Rocella. Carafa was soon promoted to Knight Grand Cross of the Order, and was promoted to Prior general of Rocella after his uncle died.
In 1647, he was involved in the Masaniello revolt in which he tried to restore peace and order in Naples. After the defeat of the rebels in Naples, he was sent to Calabria to quell the uprising there. These events led to him being promoted and he was given command of the Order's fleet.
In 1656, he commanded the 7 Maltese galleys at the Battle of the Dardanelles. In this battle, the joint Venetian-Maltese fleet was victorious, and as a reward, Malta received 11 captured Ottoman ships. This battle was heaviest naval defeat for the Ottomans since the Battle of Lepanto.
In 1680, he was elected Grand Master of the Order after the death of Nicolas Cotoner. In the same year that he became Grand Master, Carafa paid for the renovation of Auberge d'Italie. The facade was rebuilt in Baroque style, and a bronze bust of Carafa was placed in a prominent position over the front door of the Auberge. His personal coat of arms was also sculpted close to the bust.
From 1681 onwards, Fort Saint Angelo was strengthened and rebuilt by the architect Carlos de Grunenburgh, at Carafa's request. Carafa's name appears on the plaque above the fort's main gate.
During his reign, the Order's navy was at its peak, with galleys led by knights and manned by experienced crews. Fearing an Ottoman attack, in 1687 Carafa strengthened Fort Saint Elmo by building a series of fortifications known as the Carafa Enciente on the foreshore surrounding the fortress.
Bronze bust of Carafa at Auberge d'Italie
Plaque at Fort Saint Angelo making a reference to Carafa
Carafa Enciente at Fort Saint Elmo
Tomb of Carafa at the St. John's Co-Cathedral
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gregorio Carafa (GM 62).|
- Bertoni, Luisa (1976). Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani.
- "The Grand Masters of the XVIIth century". A Rome Art Lover. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- Setton, Kenneth Meyer (1991). Venice, Austria, and the Turks in the Seventeenth Century. DIANE Publishing. pp. 182–183. ISBN 0871691922.
- "The Auberge d'Italie". Malta Tourism Authority. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- "Fort St. Elmo". Heritage Malta. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
|Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller
Adrien de Wignacourt